Summer Work and Travel

General Information

The United States’ Summer Work and Travel (SWT) program is one of the J-1 visa programs and permits post-secondary school students to work and travel throughout the U.S. Every year, the program draws many thousands of students from around the world.

Many work at hotels, beach resorts and amusement parks across the U.S. Others are employed at restaurants or national parks. And of course, students have the opportunity to see some of the cities and scenery of the 50 United States.

The SWT Program is a great opportunity to explore the U.S., get to know its culture and its people, improve English language skills, earn money, develop a network of international contacts, and gain marketable job skills.


To participate in this program, participants must meet the following requirements:

  • Participants must be post-secondary school students who are actively pursuing a degree or a full-time course of study at an accredited educational institution in their country of residence. Students may not participate in this program during time periods other than their summer vacations.
  • Prospective exchange visitors must also possess sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in their programs.

How to Apply for the Summer Work and Travel (SWT) Program

To take part in one of the J-1 Visa programs, locate and contact a designated sponsor.

The designated sponsors supervise the application process and are the main point of contact throughout the exchange program process. Contact the sponsors directly to take part in the SWT program.

The final step involves an interview with a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or the U.S. Consulate General in Sapporo, Osaka, or Naha. The purpose of the interview is to ensure that participants meet the requirements of the program and are eligible to receive visas.

For application procedures of J-1 visa application, please visit:

For further information regarding summer travel program, please see

In the United States

Once entering the United States, students can stay for up to four months, during which time they may spend up to one month traveling. When the program ends, students are expected to return home and continue their studies.

Income earned by Summer Work and Travel Program participants in the U.S. will be taxed, but applicants can apply for a refund upon return to Japan.